The last two years have shown a concerted effort by Marvel to diversify the characters standing at the forefront of the Marvel Universe. With all the recent relaunches in All-New Marvel NOW such as All-New Captain America, Thor, Captain America & The Mighty Avengers, Spider-Gwen, and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl among others, Marvel has been very aggressive in promoting new legacy characters or revamps of current ones, one of the more prominent relaunches has been that of the Ms. Marvel book. Recasting Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel, and making Ms. Marvel a legacy of its own has been one of the best moves Marvel has made with both franchises in awhile, giving us a permanent legacy to fill the Captain Marvel name, while giving us a relevant new character for the latter title.
In terms of the book itself, its closest relative is Ultimate Spider-Man, and of course that’s as a compliment in the best way possible. It has plenty of the requisite superhero action and of course the teenage hurdles part of a book like this. In less than a year, this creative team has taken a completely new character and defined her as a unique part of the Marvel pantheon. The decision to set the book in New Jersey was in retrospect a very sound one. While Marvel has tended towards crossing over heroes since the very beginning, it allows her to be close enough to the main hub of the Marvel Universe in Manhattan to allow for meetings to naturally happen, but it also allows Kamala not to be eclipsed by that very same closeness. Tying her into the Inhuman universe has also been a great engine for stories as well, and those ties have paid dividends enhancing the book’s first year arc of Ms. Marvel vs the Inventor, rather than overriding it.
I would be remiss to say the book would not be as unique as it is without Adrian Alphona’s art. From Runaways to this, Alphona has consistently gotten better, and Ms. Marvel has been his best work yet. Even with two fill-in issues, the visual identity of the book has been set in stone thanks to those first issues. Kamala unlike many precursors actually looks like a teenage girl, and even in the super-enhanced reality of the Marvel Universe, everyone and everything looks plausible. From her super actions as a superhero, to her friends, to even a evil bird clone of Thomas Edison in a giant robot everything looks like it could fit into the real world.
While this book does conclude the story it started in issue 1, even coming in now is not a problem, the book is always inviting. More importantly: among the other Marvel books, this is the only book remaining at 2.99, and it’s a real bang for your buck at that price. For me, this book has been an important part of the overall change in Marvel’s approach at gaining new readers, and if further books follow the example that Wilson and Alphona have set, the future looks bright for Marvel.
5 out of 5 Embiggenings